The first two days in Auckland were spent doing some light training and visiting sights such as the historic city centre, Skytower and Waikehele Island, as well as the boys tackling the ‘Sky Screamer’. The team then moved to Hamilton to play against Hamilton Boys High School. We were very grateful to our hosts, who looked after us wonderfully, even though it was in the middle of their two week Easter holiday. The British Schools won an entertaining game 45-33, playing some very good rugby and everyone played a half. It was an ideal start to the tour.
The second game against St Patricks College from Sydney was also won (34-12), and again we were really well looked after by our hosts.
That completes the playing side of the first part of the trip before we head to Japan on Thursday afternoon for the Sanix tournament.
SANIX WORLD YOUTH TOURNAMENT
The British Schools played their first game of the Sanix World Tournament against Saga Technical High school from Saga, Japan. The team played well, winning 24-7 to give themselves a good start in their group. The other two teams, Exeter College from England, and Osaka Toin High School from Osaka, Japan drew 31-31. It was a tough game, as are all the games here, but The British Schools controlled the second half with very sensible play and a lot of strong defending. The forwards scored two tries from close range, and the constant pressure made Saga give away penalties, of which four were kicked for the other points.
The second game was played against Osaka Toin. In heavy rain and horrible conditions, The British Schools lost 3-35 to a very powerful side, who are in fact the Japanese school champions. There was a rest day before the final group game against Exeter College. The rest day was spent visiting the historic city of Nagasaki, where they visited the site where the second atomic bomb was dropped in August 1945. Where the bomb landed is marked today by a peace memorial, and nearby is the Memorial Museum, which tells the story of the dropping of the bomb and its after effects. The boys admired the museum with a deep sense of respect, understanding that what happened there marked a milestone in the history of humanity.
The final group game was against Exeter College. At half time the opposition led 14-7, but a combination of two injuries to our front row players, good play by Exeter and general fatigue saw us lose 7-29.
This meant we finished third in the group, and so did not qualify for the main competition for the top eight places. However, the day after, we bounced back to beat Enisei -STM, the Russian champions in a very hard fought encounter and so go forward into the semifinals of the plate completion which will be played on Saturday.
The competion is extremely hard, of a very high standard and we are learning are all the time. Friday is a rest day before the last two days of the tournament.
After beating the Russian champions, The British schools played a strong Japanese side, Higashi in the 9th-12th place championship, but we were well beaten by a strong and very well drilled side. The following day was finals day, and we played a very hard and entertaining game against a school from Kyoto, winning 45-40, to finish 11th in the tournament, which was a fair reflection of the strength of the team and the strength of the tournament. The final was won by Paul Roos Gymnasium from South Africa. They have had more Springboks in their history than other South african school, which how’s how strong they were. They beat St Josephs, from Auckland 52-5 in the final, and they are the current New Zealand champions!
The boys played well through the tournament, always showing the determination necessary to play at this level.